The hunting trip went off as planned over thanksgiving. Thanksgiving morning, I got up at 5 AM, (not unusual), and Brother-in-law Tom, along with Cousin Tom, all assembled in the living room. We piled all the gear into the truck, and got going.
We drove for a short bit on paved roads, the went off on a dirt road. Twenty minutes down the dirt road found out parking spot- a small turnoff from the dirt road. The road seemed to keep going, but we all got out of the truck. I had expected cold weather, so had brought long underwear, pants, and arctic insulated Carhartt bib and jacket and hood. As I put all these on, I noticed that it was actually rather warm. It was raining lightly however, so I figured I'd wear the stuff at least to keep the rain off. We loaded up and set out on foot.
It was sort of a long hike, uphill on the road, which narrowed to a wideish ATV trail. We hiked up it for about a half hour, and I was soaked with sweat. We arrived at the power lines, which we were to hunt on, and sent Cousin Tom down the path of the lines to set up a half mile or so away on a small hill, and BIL Tom and I would slow hunt through the woods on the right to either suprise a deer, or drive him toward Cousin Tom. At this point, I decided to ditch the insulated jacket, but as soon as I did, the rain, which had stopped for a while, started up again, so I elected to wear it to keep me dryer.
We got into the woods, within sight of each other, and waited for the legal time (one half hour before sunrise) to start hunting. We'd walk slowly through the woods for a couple of steps, the stop and look all around, then take another slow step, then look all around, etc. Takes a long while to cover ground this way, but is quiet and a good way to sneak up on deer.
It was beautiful in the woods there, and the going was more strenuous than I had imagined. in about half an hour, I ditched the arctic jacket because the rain had mostly stopped, I was soaked with sweat anyway, and was getting really hot. I fired up the GPS and got a waypoint on the jacket so I could find it later.
We saw a little sign, some deer scat and some tree scratchings, but nothing really fresh, no scrapes, etc., and certainly no deer. We walked for a long time, until I was barely able to lift a foot over one more log. We called it quits for the woods, and walked out to where Cousin Tom was- he hadn't seen anything either. At this point I ditched my insulated bib, and it was a huge relief. We decided to walk up to a hill where Tom had seen lots of sign a few weeks ago. This time there was nothing. I was quite tired bu this point, even though walking was easier without all the weighty insulated stuff on.
Around 9:30, we decided to get back and go home again. Collected the bib, and fired up the GPS to find the jacket. As I did, I found a path that had lots of sign, inclugin what looked like fresh scratching, but I just went in , got the jacket, and came back out. We went back to the path, and started down back to the truck.
Halfway there, Cousin Tom sees a snowshoe hare huddling on the side of the path, about ten feet away. Conversation breaks out as to wether to shoot it or now. BIL Tom says he can't because his wife Sally had a pet rabbit once, and it's the only thing he's not allowed to hunt. Cousin Tom wants to shoot it. I ask if it's in season. Consensus is, shoot it, but BIL Tom walks away to be no part of it.
Cousin Tom aims his rifle, and BANG!- misses the bunny, which hops off another fifteen feet to get between some trees. Tom get appropriate ribbing for missing such a close stationary bright white target. I tell him to put crosshairs above bunny's head, so the shot goes into his head. Tom goes up the embankment a couple of feet to get a shot again on stationary bunny. BANG! Rabbit dissapears. We both figure he got him, but upon investigation, no bunny was to be found. Tom gets additional ribbing for missing an easy shot twice.
Tom, the week before, had shot a 225 pound buck at 150 yards, clean kill, with the same gun. He tried to make me promise to keep the bunny incident a secret.
The next day we went partridge hunting with Nate and got skunked again, but that's another story.